Bed bugs are one of the most challenging pests to control, for a variety of reasons. The Ensystex 4-step treatment process boosts your chances for success.
Bed bugs are possibly the most challenging pest problem currently facing professional pest managers. Even the most experienced pest management firms may find it difficult to guarantee the total elimination of bed bugs from some infested environments. Securing an initial reduction of a bed bug population is, in most cases, not difficult. However, it can be extremely difficult, if not impossible, to eliminate every last bug in some situations.
If just one fertilised female survives, the environment may quickly become reinfested. To give a classic example, one adult female might be present inside the binding of a book on a bookshelf, another might be located beneath a floorboard. These isolated individuals can allow the infestation to continue at low levels and, if not watched, blow out into a serious infestation again.
Bed bug population dynamics are scary. If one gravid female (one carrying eggs) is left after a treatment, then just three months later, over 1000 bed bugs could be present, delivering over a thousand bites in their pursuit of blood feeds for growth and reproduction, plus more than 800 eggs ready to hatch. These bed bugs will also spread out from the initial point of infestation.
Steve Broadbent, regional director for Ensystex, believes that bed bug work requires nothing less than a highly skilled, professional approach.
“It takes hard work and follow-up effort; and it can be expensive. ‘Detect early, act quickly and thoroughly’ is the approach required for greatest success. This is why at Ensystex we recommend a four-step strategy to quickly resolve the problem, ensure all areas are initially treated and then provide ongoing residual control to minimise and protect against reinfestation or problems arising should there be any surviving bugs.”
The first step in a bed bug treatment is to provide fast initial kill. However this is not as simple as it sounds, as bed bugs have a formidable arsenal of mechanisms to deactivate insecticides, including target site (nerve) insensitivity, metabolic detoxification and reduced penetration of the insect cuticle.
Mr Broadbent said, “What makes this concerning is that while many insecticides with differing modes of action can provide quick control, very few also provide residual protection against bed bugs. This is why most experts recommend the use of a dual chemical active to provide effective long-term residual control.
“Ensystex developed Bithor Dual Action Insecticide for this purpose. It contains two actives with two totally different modes of action to control even the toughest insects. After achieving fast initial kill, Bithor provides the foundation for the residual control of the bed bugs.”
Bithor was evaluated in trials at the Institute of Clinical Pathology and Medical Research (ICPMR) at Westmead Hospital in Sydney. When tested against a highly pyrethroid-resistant strain of the common bed bug (Cimex lectularius), it provided 100% control after two hours’ exposure. Two separate studies were performed. The first study was topical application of the product directly to the bed bugs. The second used a regulatory-approved surface residual methodology. The test surface was treated with the product and allowed to dry overnight. The bed bugs were then placed on the treated surface.
Similarly, in trials against a pyrethroid-resistant strain of the tropical bed bug (Cimex hemipterus) performed by the Department of Medical Entomology (DME) in Thailand, Bithor proved 100% effective in all replicates. This study similarly used a surface residual methodology. Several surfaces were treated with the product, which was allowed to dry. The bed bugs were then placed on the treated surfaces for ten minutes and then removed and observed for mortality.
“Bithor provides fast initial kill of bed bugs, but more importantly, it provides residual performance and controls all life stages,” explained Mr Broadbent. “The high potency of Bithor arises out of the potentiation that occurs between the two active ingredients. This means that each active makes the other more effective. And since they work at different target sites on the insect nervous system, the end result is an incredibly powerful and versatile insecticide.”
The second step Mr Broadbent recommends is to treat hard to reach areas and tight spots with Aerothor Extra-strength Aerosol Insecticide. Also containing two actives, it provides a high dose of insecticide to kill bed bugs in areas that cannot be easily reached by other means. Aerothor has a stainless steel straw nozzle for inserting deep into tiny cracks and crevices, including book bindings, behind fixtures and fittings, and into tight bed frames. Aerothor’s fast flush-and-kill action is due to the imiprothrin component, which acts rapidly at the nerve target site, providing a very quick decline in spontaneous nerve electrical impulse firing. This is followed by the rapid and complete disappearance of any electrical charge.
“The third step is to utilise a product with a purely physical mode of action. Diathor Bed Bug Killer aerosol is a water-based formulation containing a highly abrasive grade of pyrogenic, amorphous silica. It kills by adsorbing the lipids (waxes) that form the waterproof outer layer of the epicuticle of the bed bugs and also interacts with the membrane structures. This causes the loss of significant quantities of body fluids in a comparatively short period of time, leading to rapid dehydration and death.”
Diathor was also tested against susceptible and resistant strains of the common bed bug by ICPMR at Westmead Hospital, and the tropical bed bug by DME in Thailand. In all trials, 100% mortality was achieved. Amorphous silicas have been used for many decades in a wide variety of applications, including as a filler in food for human consumption, cosmetics and pharmaceuticals, both oral and topical.
“This means Diathor has a very broad label allowing its use in sensitive areas that cannot be treated by insecticides. Diathor is approved for direct application to mattresses and upholstered furnishings, where it provides long-term residual control,” said Mr Broadbent.
The final step Mr Broadbent recommends is to release a Fumithor Delta Smoke Generator and close the room up.
“What this does is provide a very high dose of insecticide into all the inaccessible areas, penetrating deep into the tiniest cracks and crevices where bed bugs hide. So, if you have missed any spots, the Deltathor Smoke is likely to make sure they are hit and killed. With particle sizes down to just 1 micron, the smoke can penetrate into places that are simply not reached by sprays.”
Data generated by the Applied Physics Department at the Universitat Politècnica de València showed the mean particle size range was between 1.3 and 2.7 microns, which ensures thorough penetration of the smoke into the tiniest cracks and crevices. Further studies on the geometrical descent of the smoke showed a quick and uniform deposition of the product such that, two hours after application, the Fumithor Delta was completely deposited. Fumithor Delta uses no solvents, is non-tainting and leaves no residual odour.
“This four-step process provides for the most thorough approach to a bed bug treatment. If a bed bug should survive the initial blitz, or an egg is missed, then the residual Bithor treatment will clean these up later, as it remains active for 3-6 months depending upon the surface to which it is applied,” said Mr Broadbent. “Pest managers can have confidence in their bed bug treatments when they take a thorough, considered approach.”
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